By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
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By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
According to the media, Kerry has a sufficient "history" with Sasso that the adviser can ride by his side and offer candid critiques of what's going on. Kerry was elected lieutenant governor of Massachusetts when Dukakis was elected governor for a second term in 1982, in a campaign Sasso worked on. More recently, Sasso got $100,000 in lobbying fees from Boston's State Street Bank & Trust Company in 1998, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. State Street reportedly hired Sasso to get some good advice on how to persuade Congress to let people invest part of their Social Security payments in individual, privately managed accounts. Privatizing Social Security is one of the Bush administration's plans that Kerry says he opposes.
Mario Cuomo is one politician who testifies to the artful skill of the new adviser, noting that Sasso "will be especially useful in taking a senator with a penchant for nuanced languagethat includes an occasional sentence with three commasand come closer to the rat-a-tat-tat communication that works."
There's a simple alternative to all this jittery nonsense. Why not let Kerry be Kerry? Everyone wants to talk about the war. Why not get him to tell the truth. In Vietnam he was a young man who answered the call of his nation to fight a war his leaders claimed was just and winnable. No one doubts he fought valiantly. In Vietnam he learned firsthand the lessons of war, and on returning home, changed his mind and had the rare courage to stand up for what he believed. There is no reason to skulk around, trying to anticipate Republican attacks on his war record. Kerry has nothing to hide. He is a war hero. His is a profile in courage.
Thirty-five years later, the same Kerry, now a senator, again answered the call of the nation and his president, and voted to support the war in Iraq, accepting the president's statements that it was in the interests of our national security to attack. So did most of Congress, convinced that Saddam was a monster and a liar who was secretly amassing weapons of mass destruction. When Kerry, like numerous others, discovered this not to be the case, he opposed Bush's policies and started calling it the wrong war at the wrong time. He publicly stated there was no easy way out, that we would have to craft an international approach through the U.N., perhaps run by NATO, and in this way gradually disentangle ourselves. This is not a flip-flop. It is a careful, judicious, moderate way forward proposed by a man who knows about war. So let Kerry be Kerry. Whatever happens, please let's not have another Dukakis.
Additional reporting: Laurie Anne Agnese